Before I wrote a column on Randi Zuckerberg for Monday I’m betting there are not a dozen in my wide circle of friends who ever heard of the woman. In the way of the South, the first thing most people ask is who she is, then who are her people. Zuckerberg’s most salient identifier is that her brother is the Facebook guy, founder Mark Zuckerberg.
She was a huge part of Facebook’s early success but – as you will soon see – the 35-year-old worth $100 million has let her money get in her head and surrounded herself with a bunch of pompous dummies. It is horrible but we’ve seen pro athletes of every stripe turn stupid with a bunch of cash.
The only thing worse is watching those who fleece and leech these misguided millionaires.
Families who share love and pride and graciousness still matter in the South. We relish the fact “His uncle Fred fell on a grenade in Viet Nam and saved his squad,” or, that, “Her sister is an Episcopal priest in Boston.” That tells you the family has character, knows both sadness and gladness, and bless each heart if they “have been through the fire.” Well, guess what? Good manners, gratitude, kindness and happiness are also traits we continue to share and adore.
In my weekend readings I ran across a blog written by Randi Zuckerberg that bragged on Chattanooga and I was drawn in by the fact that she delights in our gentle ways. She also recognizes the undeniable fact that when you are nice to people and a community gets excited about stuff – even a “gig” – it makes the American South a far better place to live than New York City or Silicon Valley.
So I ran her blog verbatim, so people could read the actual words of a total stranger. Yes, she is a Harvard girl with a bunch of --- let’s admit it – Facebook bucks. Wipe away the fluff and Zuckerberg acts as through she discovered us like some geeky Christopher Columbus marveling at The New World. Regardless, I just thought it was a cool view, a fun story to share.
But by 9:04 on Monday morning, the cape fell off the magician. An email from Nichole Kerr, who apparently works for the woman at some New York City propaganda house, popped Zuckerberg’s aura with this stiletto of reality:
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We saw your piece on Chattanoogan.com and Randi’s Op-Ed. We were wondering if it was [sic] possible to change your intro to [sic] Randi.
When referring to Randi a short Facebook mention is okay, as long as it pertains to her career path, but we as a general rule like to ensure its left out of the title and her introduction. We always prefer to keep Mark out of the conversation as a whole, as Randi has achieved a great deal independently of her brother, and we feel like as a woman, it’s diminishing to her accomplishments to be constantly compared to a male family member.
If she chooses to mention Mark or Facebook in her pieces or answers to questions then obviously you are more than welcome to use, but want to ensure we are doing our due diligence in keeping the message on point. Please let me know if you are able to do anything about this.
Thanks so much,
Nicole Kerr / JONESWORKS
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What! I immediately wrote Kerr with a quite direct “no” but, you betcha, I can do something indeed about crass, rude people. Forget the Dale Carnegie course on how to win friends and influence people. Nichole Kerr can put her ‘due diligence’ on a leash and take it for a long walk in Central Park for all I care.
I can assure Kerr that I honor no one else’s ‘general rules’ when I write, nor follow some lame brain’s bogus guidelines to “keep on point.” Any living soul who thinks it diminishes a woman’s accomplishments to be compared to a male family member ain’t got a cut dog’s chance in the South.
The best tip I can give this set of wackos is to pack up Sue’s Tech Kitchen and take it back to The Left Coast. On our Georgia Avenue, feminism and bad manners will never fly. We much prefer to love and cherish the females in our lives and, even more, every child in a Southern family has equal footing but each hopes their other siblings will land on a higher pedestal. That’s how families down here work. Boorish PR jockeys never do.
Then a dear friend sends this email as a reminder of my mother’s dinner table …
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“I did not know your Mom, but all I could think about with this silly notion of "interactive, educational dining" is 'What would Helen think?'
“As a person who loved the joy of preparing food, serving food, gathering folks around a table to converse; would (Helen Exum) find it beneficial to provide a child with technological stimulation while they eat?
“Wouldn't it be better to teach them to embrace stopping, sitting quietly, and having a meal?”
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In candor, I am a pretty astute follower of what is going on and what matters in Chattanooga and until Saturday, when I read Zuckerberg’s blog that a friend had passed along, I had no idea “Sue’s Tech Kitchen” was even in Chattanooga. It doesn’t matter; today’s kids get all the “tech” they need by constantly texting on their iPhones during a meal (which ought to be outlawed in the South.)
My sole intention to give the venture a kind and polite boost is now foiled. After her lip-service minion very mistakenly attempted to bring me to heel, allow me to close with yet another in a string of dubious emails I received. This one shows Mark Zuckerberg’s sister has just wound up in Indian Territory where certain ones of us can be downright hostile:
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“It seems that rich young woman believes she has met Chattanooga's best and brightest.
“She is mistaken.
“1. She didn't meet you, did she? That's one...
“2. And I know she didn't meet me.
“Therefore she is wrong on at least 2 counts.
“FYI, don't make a reservation involving me; I'm not interested. Restaurants and 'popular' science have no attraction at all.”
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The Zuckerberg woman has clearly outrun her coverage. She and those of her ilk clearly lack the refinement and the civility to ever endure here. After she and her ‘tech kitchen’ bozos return to Silicon Valley, here’s saying Mark Zuckerberg ought to kick his haughty sister Randi right in the rump.